Disclaimer: Not mine; never will be.
A/N: I'm not sure who at NCIS knows about Tali's death, so for the sake of my story, I'm going to assume that at least Tony and Gibbs do.
A/N 2: This is based off of a poem I wrote a few days ago, and I'm not sure if I want to share it in my psych class yet so input on that is also welcomed.
The Reality in Ceasing to Exist:
Ziva David was never, ever, late unless something was wrong. So when she showed up to NCIS almost an hour late, her team was suspicious.
"Sorry, Gibbs, my alarm did not go off this morning." She said hurrying in and rushing to her desk.
Gibbs didn't respond to her apology, but rather began the usual morning routine; sit at the desk and do paperwork, go bug Jen for a while, respond to a new call. But in the back of his mind, he suspected that he knew the real reason why the 'always on time' Mossad agent was late. Today was the anniversary of Tali's death. Gibbs worried about Ziva often. He knew what it was like to routinely witness death, and what witnessing that could do to you, especially when you knew the person. He knew that nightmares came often and that restful sleep came little. He knew the 'why not me instead' feelings, and what those feelings can do to your mind. But he also knew, that even if he asked she'd put on the fake smile and give the ever-so-common, "I'm fine" answer, and that'd be the extent of the conversation. So he worried, but didn't ask.
She carried on with her day as usual, putting on her fake smile that she hoped to fool the world with. She did everything the same, offered no slip-up's all day. She thought she had them all fooled, and that no one suspected a thing. But Gibbs knew this game, he was the king of 'I'm fine'. So around noon, he asked Tony to go out for lunch with him.
"DiNozzo, I need you to do me a favor." He began sitting down at the table.
"Sure, boss. Is everything okay?" Tony answered.
"Do you know what today is to Ziva?"
Tony pondered the question for a few moments, at first thinking it was a trick question, but then realizing the meaning of the day.
"Oh, I just realized, boss." He said sympathetically. "But what can I do? She seems fine."
"But she's not, DiNozzo. She wants us to think she is, but she's not. She needs you. She'll open up to you."
"I don't think so, boss. She's a private person; I don't think she'll talk to me. But, I'll try."
"Don't just try, DiNozzo; Do." Gibbs said firmly. "She's your partner, and your friend. You can't just let her go like that. She's tough, but even the toughest need help sometimes, Tony. Help her." Gibbs finished.
The two men ate almost completely in silence afterward, as Tony thought about how to approach the situation at hand. He knew that Ziva would blow him off if he offered a night out. He knew if he asked outright, she'd deny having any issue with it at all. He didn't know what to do or how to do it, so he gave his mind a rest. Maybe then, something would come to him.
They returned to the office shortly after eating, and went back to their respective desks. Continuing whatever paperwork they'd left off at, and soon, it was time to go home. Ziva rose from her desk and walked to the bathroom before gathering her things to leave. While she was there, Tony walked to her desk and quickly glanced at what she'd been working on all day, inside a case folder, there was a piece of lined paper. On it there were notes, and lines from songs, and Tony's eyes fell on the words "I'm Sorry, Tali." written off into the side margin. One other phrase bothered Tony, "...ceasing to exist" He noted that she'd made an effort to scratch the words out. Those were all that he could make out from the scribbles. He heard the door down the hall open and hurried back to his desk, appearing to collect his things from his desk.
"So, uh, Ziva... do you uh wanna get a drink or something?" He asked, stuttering somewhat.
"No thanks, Tony. I don't need your antics tonight. I just want to go home and get some sleep."
"Please, Ziva; don't take it that way. I just wanted to hang tonight. No antics tonight."
"I said no, Tony!" Ziva replied sharply.
"Okay, sorry. Goodnight" Tony said.
He was more worried now, he knew she was upset before, and now he'd gone and made it worse. Not knowing what to do, he went to his car and called Gibbs.
"Gibbs, its Tony, I uh, I think something's wrong."
"What is it DiNozzo?"
"Well, I tried to get her to go for a drink, you know to get her out for a while. But all that did was piss her off. And I found a piece of paper with a bunch of, uh, weird phrases on it."
"So where is she now?"
"I, uh, I'm not sure. She said she was going home... Boss, I'm worried. What do I do?" Tony asked.
"Get over there, DiNozzo!" Gibbs barked into the phone, ending the call.
Tony sped off to Ziva's apartment, with thousands of troubling thoughts racing through his head. "Why didn't I stop her from leaving earlier? Why didn't I try to get through to her directly?" As he pulled up, he noticed that her apartment lights were on, but her car wasn't there. He dialed her cell phone number, but got no answer. He left a message, "Ziva, its Tony. I need to talk to you. Please, call me when you get this!" He finished and shut his phone.
He ran up the stairs to her apartment and found the key on his key ring. It'd been their policy, to keep a key to each other's place, in case of emergency. Tony deemed this a definite emergency, turned the key, and entered the apartment.
He called her name, and did a quick walkthrough of the house. He didn't find her inside, so he tried her phone again. And again, he got no answer, so he left another message. He figured he'd call Gibbs again to fill him in and get more advice. Gibbs told Tony to stay put, and that there was nothing else to do but wait, and hope she returned home soon. Tony accepted the advice, hung up, and walked back through the apartment. When he returned to the living room, he spotted a piece of paper on the table, with what appeared to be a poem on it. Tony didn't know weather to read it or not. He knew how personal his partner was, but that there was a good chance that it may give him an idea of her state of mind. So he picked it up and read aloud:
Ceasing to exist
Such a powerful statement
Fueled by lies and heartbroken dreams
Twisting reality until it seems
Like too much to bear
Like no one cares
And in your head
You're as good as dead
But then one day
You find a way
To carry on
To just be strong
And then you finally see
In ceasing to exist
You find that ignorance is NOT bliss
You see that there is something more
And then you're shaken to your core
You find a way to force a change
A better release to all your pain
It wanes away and then you see
That ceasing to exist is a false reality.
As Tony concluded the poem, he heard Ziva say,
"I wrote that today."
"It's beautiful." Tony replied.
"I...I know it's true. That not existing is no better than being here...but it's just so hard... I... Tony I think I need help." Ziva sobbed, falling into Tony's arms.
"I know, I know...it'll be okay Ziva. It's alright." Tony said, trying to console his partner. He'd never seen her this way, so he did all he could by trying to console her.
They talked all night and shared memories of fallen friends and family. And Tony knew in his heart, that he and Gibbs saved Ziva that night. They were the ones who intervened, and stopped the unthinkable.
As Tony pulled up to the therapist's office, Ziva exited the car.
"Thank you, Tony; you saved me." She muttered under her breath.
Walking to the door, she took a deep breath, and entered. She was going to get the help she needed.
Okay, so what did ya think? Please R&R, and tell me what you think.